Kathryn Loder Poster


Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Trivia (4)

Overview (2)

Born in Laramie, Wyoming, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (complications from diabetes)

Mini Bio (2)

Kathryn (Kay) Loder, grew up in Nebraska and Texas, the daughter of a drama professor and an elementary school principal. Her mother was Frances Loder, who taught theater at the University of Texas at Austen for many years. Her older brother was James Edwin Loder, a renowned theologian who taught at Princeton Theological Seminary. Loder discussed his younger sister in his book, "The Transforming Moment," saying that a religious experience at the age of 14 diverted her from an emotionally troubled childhood towards a career in the theater. Her distinctive voice and looks, as well as her operatic acting style, made her perfectly suited to play memorable female villains in exploitation pics such as "The Big Doll House" and "Foxy Brown." It is no small irony that the genre itself was passing around the time of her death in 1978.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Though Kathryn Loder was known mostly for her brief but memorable film career playing slinky, over-the-top female heavies, she was foremost a well-regarded stage actress, garnering mostly leading roles that were light years away from the B-movie arch-types on display in The Big Doll House and Foxy Brown. She began her stage career in 1961, debuting at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut during a summer break from drama school at the American Theater Wing, where she was a full-scholarship student. She was made a full member of the Festival's company, and acted in that season's well-received staging of "MacBeth", playing one of the "Weird Sisters" alongside principal players Jessica Tandy and Pat Hingle. She also played Audrey in "As You Like It," capturing press attention in Connecticut and New York as a rising young stage star. While working the festival, she studied with legendary masters of The Method, Morris Carnovsky and his wife, Phoebe Brand, who were just recovering from the blacklisting following their "outing" as communists by fellow actor Eliah Kazan.

Ms. Loder went on to play supporting roles in a string of off-Broadway shows in the early '60s, such as "The Merchent of Venice" in 1962 at the Gate Theater. She acted in a few television plays as well. She played her first starring role in 1964 as Raina Petkoff in "Arms and the Man" at the East End Theater. She also won a place performing at the prestigious Spoleto Festival in Italy, where she had to learn to speak Italian for one of her roles. In 1966, she won a place in Jay Broad's progressive Theater Atlanta Repertory Company. This company was progressive in that it was non-segregated and boasted slightly edgier fare with a largely professional cast, which was not typical of most Southern resident companies of the period. Ms. Loder played leads in "Waltz of the Toreadors," "Tobacco Road," "After the Fall" and "Antony and Cleopatra." Her performances were well-received, but her run at the company ended when she was injured on-stage while performing "Antony and Cleopatra," and was replaced by ground-breaking African American star Diana Sands. She later moved on to L.A.'s Theater 40 troupe, playing leads in "Love's Labours Lost" and "The Recruiting Officer" in 1970.

It was around this time she broke into films, but would return to New York in 1972 to stage a one-woman show she had conceived, called "Echoes from Gibran." She told a reporter in 1974 that she had become a devotee of Lebanese writer/poet/artist Kahlil Gibran while recovering from a serious illness (she had nearly died from sudden-onset diabetes while filming The Big Doll House in the Phillipines). She stated that she wanted to "transmit his message of peace" through theatrical form, and chose to interpret portions of two of his most popular works, "The Prophet" and "Jesus, Son of Man." The show had its New York debut at the Cubiculo in March 1972, and was later presented at Carniegie Hall in December 1972. Ms. Loder also presented it at the Los Angeles Music Center, and the New York appearances resulted in invitations to perform the show at venues in Isreal and Lebanon. During this period, she also appeared in the Syracuse Repertory Company's staging of "The Gingerbread Lady," playing aging beauty queen Toby. Right before filming Foxy Brown, she did a brief stint with U.R.G.E.N.T., a theater group formed by producer Ronald Muchnick and fellow actor Nathan George which was devoted to socially relevant works. Also, in early 1974, she appeared opposite Nicholas Pryor in "Scott and Zelda," a play about F. Scott Fitzgerald and his troubled wife. This was performed for "Queen of Off-Broadway" Lilian Lortel's ANTA Matinee Series, and got a good amount of publicity from the New York press.

In addition to stage and screen roles, Ms. Loder's deep, cultured voice earned her voice-over work, and one of her last credited appearances was on the NBC soap Days of Our Lives in 1978, the year she died.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Trivia (4)

Director Jack Hill claims to have had to fight American International Pictures to cast her as Katherine Wall in his 1974 Blaxpoitation classic, "Foxy Brown", a part he had written specifically for her. The studio did not want to pay the air fare to fly her from New York to the filming location in Los Angeles.
Ms. Loder was involved in an unfortunate (for her) incident in 1967 which garnered national headlines. While playing the lead role in Shaw's "Antony and Cleopatra" for the Theater Atlanta Repertory Company, she fell and broke her hand. This necessitated her leaving the show, for which she was receiving excellent reviews. She was replaced with the legendary African American actress Diana Sands, who happened to be performing in another Atlanta show. This was believed to have been the first time an African American actress had played a "white" role before a Southern audience - and an integrated one at that. This incident garnered much national press, including a mention in Time Magazine. Sadly and ironically, Ms. Sands, like Ms. Loder, died young in her late 30s.
According to Jack Hill, who directed Ms. Loder in "The Big Doll House," she had barely recovered from a life-threatening illness right before reporting to the set to play Lucian, the sadistic prison guard. Upon arriving in the Phillipines, where the film was being shot, she became very ill, and was taken to the hospital, where her illness mystified doctors. Her health deteriorated, and she slipped into a coma. This terrified the other cast members, who feared she might have contracted a tropical disease that they might catch. Eventually, the doctors realized that she had contracted diabetes, and began insulin therapy immediately. She quickly recovered and returned to work, although she looked quite emaciated. Sadly, however, the same disease would claim her life a mere eight years later.
Ms. Loder got her start in films by winning a talent contest that was sponsored by the American Television Academy and a film studio. She used a monologue she had performed in a play, thereby securing a screen test and an appearance on the Emmy Awards telecast to perform the same monologue. This lead to her being cast in the 1970 comedy-horror flick, "Night of the Witches." Director Jack Hill was so impressed by her performance in this film that he cast her in two of his most notorious exploitation classics, "The Big Doll House" and "Foxy Brown".

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